Of all the many success stories of the 8-bit era there is one that nobody at Electronic Theatre expected to see make a comeback: DuckTales. As much as the team here loves the original videogame it simply didn’t seem to fit with modern marketing practices, given the necessity of a licence and the expense of reproduction for an audience that now has less time and money to invest in videogames than ever before. There’s no denying that DuckTales: Remastered is a videogame aimed at an aging demographic, but just as it was over twenty years ago, there’s nothing to suggest that younger gamers can’t enjoy the dexterous challenges and logical puzzling of the Capcom classic.
Currently in development at Wayforward Technologies, a studio that has received significant acclaim for its work with many licensed titles in the past, DuckTales: Remastered is an exact remake of the original videogame. It has the added benefits of save data, new difficulty settings and redrawn high-definition (HD) visuals, of course, but by-and-large it’s the same videogame experience. DuckTales: Remastered is still the same unique, compelling platform videogame it always was.
The preview build available to Electronic Theatre featured two levels: Transylvania & Amazon. Both of these levels played exactly as you will remember; objectives, enemy locations, secrets and all. The Amazon level first has you exploring a reasonably small area as you try and secure eight coins to place in an ancient statue. Doing so progresses the level to an automatic scrolling sequence where the player must keep up with Launchpad McQuack as he pilots a helicopter to the next part of the level while being tempted to collect the goodies available below. It’s a direct trade-off, safety for cash bonuses, but this is the kind of challenge that made DuckTales stand out from the pack many years ago.
The next section of the level takes the player through an expansive tomb littered with secrets and bonuses as they journey ever closer towards the inevitable boss fight. Throughout the level DuckTales: Remastered looks gorgeous, with highly detailed sprites complimented by smooth animation and masterful parallax backdrops. Boasting that the original voice cast from the cartoon has returned for this rebirth of a classic – including one member coming out of retirement – no one could argue that DuckTales: Remastered isn’t taking it’s subtitle seriously.
The Wii U version of DuckTales: Remastered will feature off-screen gameplay, with the television image replicated on the GamePad screen at all times just as with Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper and Trine 2: Director’s Cut, amongst others. However, lacking this feature on other formats isn’t necessarily going to be a hindrance: with a production of such high quality, it is genuinely a pleasure to revisit a classic from a bygone era. Hopefully DuckTales: Remastered can become the success story in 2013 that the original was back in 1990, and Capcom may see fit to give the lesser known sequel the same HD treatment.
UPDATE: Since the publication of this preview Capcom has contacted Electronic Theatre to inform us that the Wii U version will in fact not feature off-screen gameplay. Electronic Theatre apologises for any inconvenience caused.